PLEDGE NOW
A Python Invasion And The Future Of The Everglades

Burmese pythons, slithering all over the Florida Everglades. We’ll get up close with the cost of the python takeover.

In this 2009 photo provided by the National Park Service, a Burmese python is wrapped around an American alligator in Everglades National Park, Fla. The National Academy of Science report released Monday, Jan. 30, 2012, indicates that the proliferation of pythons coincides with a sharp decrease of mammals in the park. (AP)

In this 2009 photo provided by the National Park Service, a Burmese python is wrapped around an American alligator in Everglades National Park, Fla. The National Academy of Science report released Monday, Jan. 30, 2012, indicates that the proliferation of pythons coincides with a sharp decrease of mammals in the park. (AP)

It’s python heaven in the Florida Everglades these days. And python hell for just about every other species a python can swallow. The Burmese python is anything but native to Florida. It came in as import and pet. Broke out as abandoned pet and hurricane runaway.

Now, the Burmese python is the apex predator of the Florida Everglades. Thousands and thousands, eating everything in sight. Raccoon populations down 99 percent. Opossum, 98 percent. Deer, 94 percent. Fox and bobcat and alligator, down the hatch.

This hour, On Point: the python takeover in the Everglades.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Michael Dorcas, professor of biology, Davidson College, he’s the author of the recent report, Severe mammal declines coincide with proliferation of invasive Burmese pythons in Everglades National Park. He is also the author of Invasive Pythons in the United States: Ecology of an Introduced Predator.

Carol Mitchell, deputy director of the South Florida Natural Resources Center at the Everglades National Park.

Jeffrey Fobb, captain in the Miami Dade Fire-Rescue, in the anti-venom unit. He is also an authorized python removal agent at the Everglades National Park. You can find photos of his snake removal efforts at his Facebook page here.

From Tom’s Reading List

Orlando Sentinel “Here’s hoping a recent shocking report on the environmental devastation caused by Burmese pythons in the Everglades finally squeezes some sense into the nation’s antiquated, after-the-fact policy on invasive species.”

Christian Science Monitor “The problem isn’t just a growing number of hungry snakes. Certain mammals native to Florida have no recent experience with large predatory snakes.”

Washington Post “As the climate changes, and temperatures warm, snakes can go on the move. During two cold snaps that hit Florida in winters that started in 2009 and 2010, many pythons survived by burrowing into the earth and by finding deeper, warmer water to ride out the low temperatures. Dozens of snakes perished and were disposed of by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but what didn’t kill those that survived might have made them stronger, Dorcas said. ”

Photos

This photo gallery shows pythons captured in Florida’s Everglades National Park.

Video: Python Attacks Alligator

This video shows a Burmese python attacking an alligator in the Florida Everglades.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Apr 29, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, joined by former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina waves during a rally in Indianapolis, Wednesday, April 27, 2016, when Cruz announced he has tapped Fiorina to serve as his running mate. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Trump and Hillary wins. Bernie lays off. Cruz chooses Carly. Beyonce drops “Lemonade.” Our weekly news roundtable goes beyond the headlines.

Apr 29, 2016
Screengrab from the #MorethanMean video produced by Sarah Spain and Julie Dicaro. Scroll down to view the video.

Women pushing back. A video by two female sports reporters about online harassment goes viral.

RECENT
SHOWS
Apr 28, 2016
Detail of the National Debt Clock, a billboard-size digital display showing the increasing US debt, on Sixth Avenue August 1, 2011 in New York.  US Vice President Joe Biden said Monday he was confident that Congress would approve a major austerity plan to avoid a debt default as he met with skeptical members of his Democratic Party.AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Beyond the campaign sound and fury, how do we really solve our biggest national problems? One smart citizen thinker weighs in- with you.

 
Apr 28, 2016
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a Women for Hillary event in New York, Monday, April 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Hillary Clinton and the women’s vote. How it’s broken against Bernie Sanders. How it might play out against Donald Trump.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
‘Embedded’: How Violent Gangs Are Terrorizing El Salvador
Thursday, Apr 14, 2016

NPR’s Kelly McEvers on her reporting in El Salvador for the podcast Embedded, and how gang killings brought San Salvador’s bus service to a halt.

More »
Comment
 
That Cheap Dress On Facebook? It Isn't Worth It
Monday, Apr 11, 2016

Know those shockingly cheap clothes you see advertised on Facebook? There’s a catch.

More »
Comment
 
The Boston Globe Imagines — And Rejects — A President Trump Front Page
Monday, Apr 11, 2016

The Boston Globe editorial page imagines — and rejects — President Donald Trump.

More »
Comment